NBC already had Peacock, it was called Seeso



Opinion columnist Taylor Lien discusses NBC’s Peacock streaming service, as well as its predecessor, Seeso.


Early last year, NBC announced it would be launching Peacock, a streaming service with a nod to their iconic logo. This was seen by many as NBC’s foray into streaming coming after the launch of Apple TV+ and Disney+ in 2019. Except, what most people probably don’t remember is that Comcast and, by association, NBC already had a streaming service. In 2016, Seeso was launched and it promised to feature a combination of old favorites that NBC owned like “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” and the entirety of the “Saturday Night Live” library. The service primarily focused on comedy programming, cost a measly $3.99 a month, and was ad-free.

Sadly, it was very short lived, and was shut down in November of 2017. Much of the original programming lives on through the ad-supported streaming service VRV.

Personally, I never really considered subscribing to Seeso until one of my favorite podcasts, My Brother, My Brother and Me, announced their show on the service. At the time, very few of the existing titles on the service were being offered elsewhere. Subscribing to more than one or two streaming services also was much less common than it is now.

Seeso seems to have paved the way for Peacock, since NBC is featuring “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” in its marketing materials once again. These titles will be joining the service after their exclusive streaming contracts have expired in 2021 and 2020, respectively. It also seems to share a lot of DNA with services like Hulu, since it will feature tiered pricing as well as a live TV element. For services from networks like NBC, this seems like an important move.

There is also an ad-supported option for those not interested or willing to pay for the service. This type of arrangement on formal streaming services has definitely fell by the wayside in recent years outside of ad supported content on various network websites. Again, this shares a lot in common with Hulu considering Hulu had its earliest roots in being a free and ad-supported streaming service for network television the next day.

Another interesting choice from NBC is the one to move some of their network primetime titles to the streaming service. While there’s a multitude of reasons a choice like this could have been made, it definitely allows for shows to be somewhat freed from the traditional metrics of network television.

Although it is doubtful that Peacock will go the way of Seeso, it is fascinating to consider the ways in which Peacock may not exist without the predecessor of Seeso.

Personally, the title I am most looking forward to on the service is the Mike Schur-produced “Rutherford Falls” starring Ed Helm. This seems to be very much in a similar small-town-sitcom vein of “Parks and Recreation.” Amber Ruffin is also getting an unscripted program. As an avid viewer of her “Late Night with Seth Meyers” recurring bits, such as “Amber Says What” and “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell,” I am thrilled to see her get her own show.

Peacock as a service holds a lot of promise, and despite a very crowded streaming landscape, I think NBC has a lot to offer.